An Empirical critique of "Interrogational" Torture

Richard Matthews*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


[Extract] The current debates about the ethics of torture are replete with fictions and abstract generalizations. In this essay, I consider the category of “interrogational torture” and show how its use cannot withstand empirical scrutiny. Consequently,it is of no value in helping us ascertain the real-world possibilities and consequences of torture, nor can it help us assess whether state or non-state agents might be justified in using it. Interrogational torture, as Bob Brecher asserts, is a fantasy whose role in justifying torture is grotesque. In a discussion of the nature of explanation in history and the social sciences,Geoffrey Hawthorn warns of the dangers of abstraction and generalization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-470
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Social Philosophy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'An Empirical critique of "Interrogational" Torture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this